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The Golden Season™ at end-of-life

The Golden Season™ at end-of-life is a phrase I coined that refers to the sacred season when an individual begins to focus on quality of life instead of extending life.

An old trauma nurse, I’m familiar with the urgency instilled into the “Golden Hour“—the sixty minutes that immediately follow a traumatic injury. When appropriate treatment is provided within this critical time frame, survival rates often increase and patients usually have better outcomes overall.

Along those same lines, I’ve seen the significant difference in quality of life that individuals often experience during what I refer to as the Golden Season™ at end-of-life. This period usually begins when a person stops focusing on extending life and starts to focus on making the most of the time they have left.

When someone is given a diagnosis of a terminal illness and a grim prognosis for a limited life-expectancy, some choose to do all they can in order to live as long as they possibly can—and there’s certainly nothing wrong with that. There are often very specific goals behind such efforts, such as wanting to see a loved one reach a milestone or holding a new grandchild for the very first time.

Others may choose to forgo a traditional treatment paradigm and pursue a different path. Since we should all be empowered to make our own choices based on our individual needs and wishes, I don’t believe there’s any right or wrong answer here. Whatever each individual decides is best for them…is best for them.

However, there are times when further medical treatment may no longer be an option. When a doctor looks at a patient and honestly admits there’s nothing else that can be done.

At this point, it’s not uncommon for feelings of hopelessness and despair to move in. For depression to set up shop and wait for the end.

But, when viewed in a different light, I believe this can be a turning point into one of the most sacred seasons of our lives.

The Golden Season™ at end of life.

The season in which we embrace the time we have left with a determination to really make the most of it.

To approach life with an authenticity and passion that perhaps we’ve never before experienced.

To love those you love like never before.

To say it out loud.

To mean it and show it.

To be honest, open and transparent.

And to embrace that in others.

To ask for forgiveness.

And to offer it.

To make your wishes known and help everyone to be on the same page about what you do and don’t want.

To heal relationships and embrace each other and create memories that will last long after you’re gone.

In the many patients I’ve cared for throughout my nursing career, those facing end of life have been some of my favorites.

There’s a new urgency when you know your time is limited.

An authenticity that cuts to the chase.

That focuses on who and what is most important.

That even embraces reality as a gift.

A gift that gives you permission to let go of extending life so that you can focus all of your energy and resources on making the most of the time you have left.

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